It happens to me pretty regularly when I wake up bright and early on my day off from work. Without enough plans, I ask myself what to do and, quickly, the list flies off the handle. Twenty-four hours are never enough to cram this incredible amount of activities into all of them. Normally, I end up running thankless, forgettable errands, carving away a bit more at my jiu-jitsu game, and visiting my friends halfway down the state. It's still great although it seems there could be so much more to the day.
"What to do?" is not specific and not helpful. Asking the big question of what to do is easy to answer with plain old stuff to pass the time. You can keep yourself dusting the whole damn house to answer that busywork question. What I find more appealing and fulfilling is a practice I re-discovered trying to slug through Tony Robbins' Personal Power II CD series again: Ask Better Quality Questions.
Whether we notice it or not, our brains are exploding with questions from the time we jump out of bed. Trouble can always begin here. Ask yourself the wrong question and you'll get an answer. Ask your brain why your day sucks and it finds an answer. Ask your brain why you feel awesome and it finds an answer. The truth of the conclusion doesn't matter nearly as much as what state your mind and body are left to survive in.
Turning the gun on myself, I realized just asking about activities was not going to cut it. I decided to ask a better quality question for my day off: "What can I do today to pull my dreams closer to the present?" Now, the scope narrows its focus. My dream is to make a living off my ideas. Dusting is not going to do it. Writing? Possibly. Better question, better answer.
Too often life feels like a failed experiment. We can remind ourselves that mistakes are to be made but sometimes it doesn't always feel so great. Whether we are measuring ourselves against celebrities without mortgages or desk-jobs, or we're unable to manage our time to sleep, exercise, and eat properly in the span of a day, why not take a moment to really appreciate what is a success in your life right now? Don't bullshit yourself, there is plenty to be happy about in this life, right now. I'm not talking your favorite television show or after-dinner dessert. I want to know what in your life lifts you up. Are you learning to cook? Are you getting better at your Zumba routine? Are you soaking up the Spring weather? Are you a kick-ass friend, or sibling, or significant other?
Often questions like this end in The Happiness Trap. Pardon the heresy. After doing my daily exercises with Tony Robbins, I've been devouring Daniel Gilbert's skeptical and inquisitive Stumbling on Happiness. The more pages I turn, the less certain I am that I know what happiness is in this life. And, you know what? It's cool. Side-step the question of happiness, it's too subjective. Tim Ferriss may have made it clear to me, albeit temporarily, a long time ago, when in The Four-Hour Work Week he said, "Happiness can be bought with a bottle of wine and has become ambiguous through overuse."
The idea is perspective and you can have it, like Journey sang, any way you want it. Sharpen your questions and answer them with everything you have. Let the sparks fly!